A Lot More Than Books: The McGraw-Hill Companies leading brands include Standard & Poor's, McGraw-Hill Education, Platts energy information services and J.D. Power and Associates
Founded in 1888, The McGraw-Hill Companies is a leading global financial information and education company that helps professionals and students succeed in the Knowledge Economy.
"Although many of the MaGraw-Hill businesses are conservative; in particular the financial services side with Standard & Poor's and Capital IQ, I have to give them credit because they recognize they had a need for greater brand exposure, employment branding and knew it was something that was a growing field." Adam Eisenstein
Welcome to a Talent Acquisition Channel special edition of TotalPicture Radio at the SelectMinds 2011 Annual Client Conference in New York. Joining us is Adam Eisenstein who's the managing global employment marketing brand strategy director for the McGraw-Hill C ompanies. Adam has greatly broadened brand exposure via social media, blogging, website redesign, video production, online and mobile advertising and strategic partnerships with vendors and job seeker communities.
Adam Eisenstein TotalPicture Radio Interview Transcript
Intro: SelectMinds provides social recruiting and community management solutions -- helping companies' source talent and new business through the online connections of their current and former employees.
With SelectMinds' technology, companies can automate and scale the benefits of enterprise social networking for recruiting, branding and new business development.
For over a decade, SelectMinds has powered the corporate alumni networks and social employee referral programs of many of the world's best brands.
Welcome to a Talent Acquisition Channel special edition of TotalPicture Radio at the Select Minds 2011 Annual Client Conference in New York. Joining us is Adam Eisenstein who's the managing global employment marketing brand strategy director for the McGraw-Hill Companies. Adam has greatly broadened brand exposure via social media, blogging, website redesign, video production, online and mobile advertising and strategic partnerships with vendors and job seeker communities.
Adam, welcome to TotalPicture Radio.
Adam: Thanks, Peter.
Peter: So you go to McGraw-Hill, which I think is a pretty conservative company. Would that be a correct assessment?
Adam: It is. It is conservative in a lot of ways.
Peter: Yes, and you start talking about Twitter, Tweet-ups, LinkedIn, Facebook and what kind of reaction do you get?
Adam: Although many of the businesses are conservative, and in particular financial services side with Standard & Poor's and Capital IQ, but I have to give them credit because they recognize they had a need for greater brand exposure, employment branding and knew it was something that was a growing field. It was important and hired me because they needed somebody to figure out how to do it. Luckily, they were really receptive to everything I had to say, coming in. Nobody knew exactly what it would turn into and as usual, it turns into a whole lot more than you even realize once you start digging into social media and blogging and expanding your platforms, really interacting with jobseekers.
Peter: So McGraw-Hill is a lot more than a book publisher.
Adam: Exactly. That's really the number one challenge from a branding perspective.
Peter: We just got out of this session with Sage, which makes ACT! software. ACT! is much more well known than Sage.
Adam: Exactly. While McGraw-Hill Education is a big part of the company, even the education part still wants to get away from the immediate mental image of those textbooks that you remember so fondly, with all those paper pages, and putting your cardboard paper wrappings around them. It's moving to digital. It's moving much more into the future. So even from the education side, branding-wise, we knew we wanted to put a good digital face forward. So I was happy to take that on.
Peter: Tell us a little bit about your efforts in social media adoption in McGraw-Hill and how you've been able to get buy-in from senior management to go along with some of the programs that you've wanted to initiate.
Adam: What I've discovered is, you have to show before you can tell. Obviously, it's great to have data and you can always point to things that some other companies are doing. If you can find competitors that are taking advantage of some of those tools, it's always a good selling point because senior management never wants to feel like they're behind. But even more so, I found really creating some mock-ups and starting to do it. No one gave me permission to start a Twitter account, I just did it. I can always delete it later if they don't like it. Show them some of the things that we can do and show them some sample feeds from other places.
In addition with the blogging side of it, show that we have our career side. The career side is still the important part. It's still a destination for many people, but having a sort of alternate, slightly less formal side where you can talk. Not in an official way, although you're still giving correct information, but in a more casual way and address people on a platform where they feel more comfortable being casual and hearing about what it's like to work somewhere for real. And you can really make them feel like they're getting real information, but give them on-the-ground insight into what's the experience really like. That's something that's sometimes hard to do on a formal, corporate website.
Peter: Talk to us about how you work with marketing, sales, the recruiting department, the HR department. How do you coordinate all of these efforts across all of these different verticals?
Adam: It was easier when I had an intern this (past) summer! The recruiters are really my eyes and ears. They're the heart and soul of talent acquisition and they know their businesses more than I can. So I stay very friendly with as many of them as possible because they can tell me both, what the needs are and also who would be someone if I'm looking for stories. You know part of this job is community management. A part of this job is PR. Another part is really journalism and digging up stories and making sure people know to hit you up with a good story. Someone's doing something exciting, they're growing the business in São Paulo. Let's talk about how our company's growing globally and how this guy started in a financial program for Crystal, a financial services company in India. It's part of the program to come over and work for Standard & Poor's and then eventually get hired to Standard & Poor's, and now is living in the US. These are actually genuinely interesting stories when I think about career paths. You have to look at it that way. So sometimes I feel like it's more helpful to go from bottom up, without having any expectation of the story that you want, really finding the story that is.
Peter: How about employee referral programs, how did that whole thing evolve within your organization?
Adam: We had an existing employee referral program through Taleo that they offer. It was in use for many years, but they always said they wanted to promote it more, but the only way they were really promoting is was maybe once or twice a year, putting an article on it on the corporate internet. That's just really not using that employee population effectively. So many people didn't even know it existed. Even with that, they're still getting a large percentage of hires through referrals. So that sort of indicated that this is something that's actually really useful. You just need to make sure everyone knows about it and make it easier for them to do them. So that's how connecting with SelectMinds and TalentVine came about, to me it was just a no-brainer looking at using social media and using your networks. The way that people now think about how to tell one or even a couple of people about something is not really to hunt through the email contacts anymore or rack your brains for 'who would be good for this job,' and instead of having to, what feels like manual trudgery actually at this point... oddly enough ten years later, is now much more easily doable by the fact that we're all hooked into these networks and can identify those potential people that you can help much easier. So we brought that in. It's early in, but people have really taken to it.
Peter: What led you to select TalentVine?
Adam: To me, part of it was definitely looking at who's been able to use it so far and looking at some of the success stories. But it's also just the front end of the platform. As a marketing guy myself, it's very pleasing to see something that looks good , is easy to use and is intuitive because the biggest drop off with trying to get employees to adopt things is, they try it once, they can't figure it out right away, they throw up their hands and say, "I want my old teddy bear back." Then you say, "No, this teddy bear is newer and can do more stuff. Try it out again. Squeeze it. Hug it."
That was really attractive to me, and just the fact that the way it can suggest people that would be appropriate for a job, it's really worked for me. They're great to work with in terms of implementing it and adapting to every company's got unique facits to it, and the way it's structured and how we're going to send out messages and who gets what. Being able to think on the fly is important while you're getting that implemented. It helped a lot.
Peter: The integration into your network with TalentVine was fairly painless, then?
Adam: Nothing's painless, but when there were points of pain, like a good massage therapist we were able to find the muscle tissue around it that need to be massaged and figure out ways around things. When you get something with a vendor like SelectMinds and another vendor with Taleo and then your own HR IT, you've got this quadrangle of movement going on. So if something is not working somewhere, to make it work somewhere else and to kind of convince people in the right places to make it happen - it's sort of all part of the equation.
Peter: Tell us a little bit about the adoption rate with TalentVine. You said earlier that you were very pleased with the number of people that were using the system. How many people are using it? What do the recruiters think about it?
Adam: The recruiters have been very happy, especially on the financial services side which is a field that has very much a bit of a clubby field and people know each other. That's how they like to find a talent. People who already work for the company really embraced the, "Hey I want to bring this guy in. This is the guy you've got to meet. He can do great things for us" and kind of collect the talent that way. So that's been good. Just initial email open rates and click-throughs were all 60/65% for emails.
Peter: 65%? That's awesome. Because most email open, 11% is considered pretty good for an open rate and if you're getting 65%, that's off the charts.
Adam: Just the fact that they'll pay attention to email is amazing in itself because Lord knows I have many unread emails lingering in my inbox as we speak. The first step is to get them to pay attention and then the second step is to do something. That's been pretty good with that and good click-through rates and a good number of job shares. So appliers are following from that. We'll see how it plays out more over the next quarter, I think we'll start really seeing the hires come in.
Peter: How long have you been using TalentVine?
Adam: We implemented it in October.
Peter: Okay, so it's only been a couple of months?
Adam: So it's only been a couple of months. So it's still kind of early on in the process. We've had to adopt it with different businesses at different rates and target those, schedule emails accordingly to the businesses that kind of really need it and want it right now, to those that need to wait a little bit before they use it. Being able to segment it out the employee population was really important for that part.
Peter: Are you looking at ways you can coordinate what you're doing with TalentVine with other social networks that you're using, perhaps LinkedIn or Facebook?
Adam: Yeah. I still really wish LinkedIn would let their company pages post stuff on their wall, but obviously they way they're making money was by making us pay to post jobs on LinkedIn. You can't quite just take it and throw it up there, but I do think that's something I'm going to really want to educate our recruiters on. This is part of getting the recruiters to understand how we can effectively use social media, is that they can obviously share their own job themselves on their LinkedIn page and use their own network to spread it out. So hopefully we'll get a whole lot more recruiters jumping on that as well. I'm cultivating a little Twitter population because that's my pet project, of Twitter. Some recruiters I think can use it really effectively. But at any rate, it's one of those things that gets the job out in the public and searchable in a way that Facebook and LinkedIn doesn't. I think there's an inherent advantage to that too. So hopefully, we'll be able to piggyback on all of them to some degree.
Peter: Given all of that's happening, with all the social networks - the Facebook and now using TalentVine and all the ways that you now have to go out and reach potential employees and referrals, where do you see the role of sourcers going?
Adam: That's an interesting question. I definitely see, as part of how the role of the recruiter overall is going to change, some companies are assigning specific people to sourcing. Some are really making it a bigger part of what all their recruiters are doing. It's still, I don't think, 100% decided how we're going at McGraw-Hill. We have some of our recruiters that are sort of naturally better at sourcing and adopting that off the bat and some that just absolutely don't have time because they're interviewing people face to face all day. That's obviously pretty important too.
I think that the sourcing part, one thing is that TalentVine makes it easy for them to at least get this ball rolling internally with the referral part, and then how they can use the CRM that we have, get their own sort of personal brand as our recruiters started in the social space to make sourcing come to them, instead of it having to all be outfacing is something that I'm interested and kind of coaching our recruiters up on.
Peter: I realize you don't have any hard stats at this point because it's so new, but just generally, what is the quality of the referrals that you're getting through TalentVine? Would you consider them to be above average, average? Where would you see them on a chart?
Adam: I kind of don't know yet because I have to really dig into - I've been looking at the stats lately, and not just how many applications but then seeing where those applications are ending up in the process, how many of those are being looked at, how many are rejected right away because they're unqualified and how many are getting to the interview process and being brought to the attention of a manager. I have very early returns on that and literally just looked at them this week. But it looked pretty good. Overall, there's I think a lesser number of those that are rejected for being unqualified off the bat, that you would expect because you'd hope that people would refer a job to people that they know have some qualifications for it.
Peter: Yes, because you want to work with people that are smart people and are going to contribute to the business, right? Back to the whole song about why referrals are usually so preferred within organizations and the referral rates usually of hires are much higher than just people coming in through a job board.
Adam: That's true. That's definitely true. I think we're around 25-30% hires from referrals. It'll be reasonable, I think, to get that up to 40% with TalentVine. But we'll see how it goes. Even if it's just an improvement of the quality and not necessarily the percentage, that's also a win in my book.
Peter: Given that you were talking about that TalentVine is very easy to use and intuitive. Are you finding that people are then using it to make multiple referrals? Once they see how easy the system is easy to use, they'll just go back and continue using it?
Adam: Definitely. That's one of the fun things about the activity stream that's sort of on the upper right hand side, is you can see all of the action within a day or really a couple of hours, because it floats up pretty quickly. What you most often see is Joe Smith referred so-and-so to this job, and you see a number in row, which sort of indicates to me that once this person gets on there, they're either finding multiple people for a job or finding multiple jobs that they think they have people for. Again, that's just much better than the old system of, I don't refer somebody until I see a job and then think of somebody that I need to email it to or wait for somebody outside to ask me, "Hey do you have any jobs in marketing at your company?" Then going and looking them up, then finding the one job that you think could be for them, and then having to repeat the process multiple times if you want to refer them for a couple of jobs. So that alone I think, is going to take a lot of work out of the equation for the employee. So it can only help get more applicants that way.
Peter: Is there a war for talent in your organization where there are certain very hard to fill positions that you really struggle with finding the talent for?
Adam: Yes. There's definitely some hard to fill spots that come out. At McGraw-Hill, it's not like say an accounting firm where they know they're going to hire thousands of young accountants and they know that position and this skill set is exactly what they're looking for.
Certainly, in the financial part, there's a lot of financial analysis early hires. On the IT side, there's certainly some kind of basic engineering things that happen. But more and more, because these businesses are growing and changing a lot, the needs and the positions tend to be quite unique often. So we don't have a ton of, this position will be there 100 times this year. It's more, we need 2 or 3 of these. We need someone who really has the skill set for this particular department for this product. I find that the more specific that need is, then the more this sort of matching and referral aspect becomes more important.
Peter: What are some of your objectives for 2012, especially in the areas of employee referral programs?
Adam: It will be increased adoption within the company, increased recognition of it, get some of our success stories out early to continue encouraging people to use it and use that momentum to kind of keep the circle going. As far as hard goals, I said I'd like to get up to 40% from 30%. I have no way of knowing if that's going to happen or not, but I think it's a reasonable goal, to just shoot for it and see what we can do.
On the marketing side, it'll be about keeping the word up. The other side of it will be in the back-end, and I think we're going to need to do more partnering in 2012 with human resources services and making sure that - I've kind of got to start first half of this process. I really want to make sure that second half pays off what the first half was because otherwise, you're just going to have disgruntled people asking, "Where is my referral bonus?" That defeats the whole purpose of having it happen. You want to have this be a great win moment. If that doesn't happen and we're going to start, in the next 2-3 months, to have that part of the cycle really kick in from these early referrals, we've got to make that part a win also.
Peter: Right, because again, back to the presentation with Sage, he was saying it's great to have an employee referral program but if you bring someone in and that employee refers, interview them in-house and never ever get back to them, you've kind of put a bad taste in that person's mouth about your whole...
Adam: So I think it will be a great starting point from what Sage was saying, to talk about that candidate experience and then the recruiter commitment on the other side of that contract. Really talk to the recruiters about, here's how we're going to handle this. This is why we need to it that way. What do you think you can do to make it better? Do you agree if this is important to treat these referrals with a little special treatment, something nice?
Peter: Do you use something like Radian6 or anything to track what's being said about McGraw-Hill out in the social media world?
Adam: Our corporate marketing group had, I guess they use some of those fancy programs and consultants. So they're out there. But I personally am always monitoring myself, all of our social networks and always have one column of my Twitter feed just searching for McGraw-Hill and seeing what people are saying about us at any given day. I have a pretty good idea with that and being connected with each of our businesses, social media outlets and feeds. So that whole group together kind of gets a feel of it and every so often they'll have a sort of annual study with Radian6 about the reputation and the brand growth. I just piggyback on them because they've got their budget for that.
Peter: Do you think there's going to be a tighter integration between social networks and referral programs?
Adam: Yes, I think there has to be and even broader than that, to corporate marketing and corporate branding. I think it all needs to be seen as part of a whole. However, a company is branding themselves to the marketplace to use to kind of tap into how they're doing it to the candidates. If they're not, then why not, because you really need to. If you don't, especially in social media and getting people to be interested in your company, you can refer someone to something. If they're not interested in that company, they're not going to come in and look at it. I don't care what they employment rate is. They still want to work for a good place, first of all.
Peter: Right. Exactly.
Adam: So you've got fill that void with your own content and if you don't explain who you are and why they should work for you, then you're just completely relying on either blind luck or whatever they read on Glassdoor.
Peter: It's a transparent world out there. These companies can no longer control the message as much as the PR department would like to.
Adam: It's easy to find out something about - I always encourage jobseekers to be really savvy and use LinkedIn and connect with somebody at a company, because that's always the best source of company culture. I do this stuff for a living, but I still wouldn't trust necessarily some company culture paragraph on a website or even a well-designed video because...
Peter: Enron had really nicely designed videos and corporate culture statement, didn't they?
Adam: Exactly. We're in a cynical world and we're all... jobseekers, like Enron and America in the world has become experts at interpreting videos and understanding the subtext of things. You've got to find genuine ways of doing that. So the most genuine way is having a real person talk to them. That's part of trusting your internal culture and for them to being ambassadors, encouraging them to talk to real people. Encouraging real people to connect with them, hopefully it works out. Not everyone at a company is open and wants to talk to somebody that connects with them on LinkedIn. You hope to encourage that and let it grow.
Peter: One more question, Adam. Given your recent adoption of TalentVine, what advice could you share with an organization that is considering bringing TalentVine into their system?
Adam: I would say it's an easy sell to management, I think in terms of getting returns and really using the value of your employees as a source for hires. If you don't think your own employee population is a good source for extra talent, then you have a bigger problem that you can reconcile. So assuming that you do like the employees that you've already hired, or at least you like most of them, getting that to sell out of the way first is great. Then also just demonstrating the way that people communicate now and the ease of being able to identify those good candidates.
First you assume your people know some other good people, and then you just want to make it as easy as possible for them to find them and track it, because the tracking is quite easy with that too. It can eliminate a lot of the on the ground complaints from HR, which is have all these people calling me. They say I referred this guy and someone else is saying I referred him. It can become very political and it's much more cut and dry when you say, "Look, just use TalentVine platform. The link will automatically track it and it will tell you if somebody else has already referred this guy. " That's how it goes. That's our policy.
Peter: Adam, thank you so much for speaking with us today on TotalPicture Radio.
Adam: Alright. Thanks, Peter.
Peter: Thank you.
Visit Adam Eisenstein's feature page in the Talent Acquisition channel on TotalPicture Radio. That's totalpicture.com, where resource links and a complete transcript of today's interview. With Select Minds technology, companies can recruit top talent from within their employee's social networks and from their own, private, secure employee and alumni networks. These referral-based environments drive recruitment, new business development and lead to great, new hires and substantial business growth. Visit selectminds.com to learn more or call 877-276-3978 to set up a free demo today.
This is Peter Clayton, reporting. Thank you for tuning in to TotalPicture Radio, the voice of career and leadership acceleration. Join our Facebook community to join in the conversation and subscribe to our newsletter on our homepage totalpicture.com. Our interviews link your business with your customers, prospects and employees and passive candidates.
About Peter Clayton
Peter Clayton, Producer/Host, is an award-winning producer/director of radio, television, documentary, video, interactive and Web-based media who has created breakthrough media for a wide array of Fortune 100 clients.